Raymond Gilmartin, Merck & Co’s chief executive officer, received a base salary of $1.6 million dollars in 2004, which has been unchanged since March 2003, and a $1.4 million bonus, which was also the same as the previous year.

In a filing made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Merck said: “The award was determined in light of the company performance measures relating to earnings per share, sales growth, return on operating assets and results in research, manufacturing productivity and the management of human resources… the company met its performance objectives in 2004 with respect to research, productivity improvements and human resources management; however, operating performance was below long-term growth objectives.” The firm was hit significantly in 2004 after it voluntarily withdrew its top-selling COX-2 inhibitor, Vioxx (rofecoxib), over safety concerns [[01/10/04a]].

Late in February, Mr Gilmartin was also granted an option to purchase 250,000 Merck shares at $48.24 each.